Mr. Phillips wakes on a summer’s Monday morning in his modest, nearly mortgage-free house, ready to face another ordinary working day. Except this day is far from ordinary, for on the previous Friday, Mr. Phillips was summarily sacked. Unable to deal with this disaster–unable even to tell his own wife–Mr. Phillips rises at his usual hour and prepares himself for the job he no longer has. As he wanders the streets of London, what he sees triggers memories. Gradually a picture develops of a decent man who, only days before, knew exactly who and what he was–husband, home-owner, father, valued employee–and on this day wonders who and what he can become.
Using the bits and pieces of one man’s past, John Lanchester has drawn a fully dimensional life and, in the process, made in Mr. Phillips an Everyman for our times.